Every year, more than 2,500 people die and over 12,000 are injured in home fires that could have been prevented. In California, it is the law that every home and multi-home dwelling have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department has information on how to keep you, your family and your home safe in case of a fire.
Be Fire Aware
- Fire Is Fast. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can go completely out of control and grow into a major fire. Thick smoke can fill up a home quickly and inhibit your respiration and eyesight. Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables and other important items. Make sure to get out of the burning building before calling for help.
- Fire Is Hot. Heat is more threatening than flames. Since heat rises, when a fire breaks, the temperature at ground level could be 100 degrees and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. If you are caught in a fire, stay as low as possible and crawl to safety. Inhaling extremely hot air can scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin. Fire Is Dark. Fire starts bright but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire, you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around your own home.
- Fire Is Deadly. Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up vital oxygen that you need to breathe, and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.
Preventing Home Fires
If you cook:
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or boiling food. If you leave, make sure to turn off the stove.
- Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled-up sleeves to prevent your clothes from catching fire.
- Keep children at least three feet away from cooking areas around the stove.
- Position BBQ grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings.
If you smoke:
- Smoke outside, and make sure to put out your cigarettes in a can filled with sand.
- Make sure cigarettes and ashes are completely stubbed out before discarding.
- Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
- Never smoke in bed!
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